Program Solicitation

NSF 02-145


Preproposals (Required): October 2, 2002
Full Proposals (Invited): April 18, 2003

All proposals must be submitted via FastLane by 5:00 PM local time on the deadline date.




Program Title:
Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship (IGERT) Program

Synopsis of Program:
The IGERT program continues into its sixth annual competition. Proposals for new IGERT projects as well as proposals based on existing IGERT projects may be submitted. The IGERT program has been developed to meet the challenges of educating U.S. Ph.D. scientists, engineers, and educators with the interdisciplinary backgrounds, deep knowledge in chosen disciplines, and technical, professional, and personal skills to become in their own careers the leaders and creative agents for change. The program is intended to catalyze a cultural change in graduate education, for students, faculty, and institutions, by establishing innovative new models for graduate education and training in a fertile environment for collaborative research that transcends traditional disciplinary boundaries. It is also intended to facilitate greater diversity in student participation and preparation, and to contribute to the development of a diverse, globally-engaged science and engineering workforce.

Cognizant Program Officers:

Applicable Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number:




A. Proposal Preparation Guidelines

B. Budgetary Information




    1. Proposal Preparation Instructions
    2. Budgetary Information
    3. Deadline/Target Dates
    4. FastLane Requirements

    1. Notification of the Award
    2. Award Conditions
    3. Reporting Requirements



The National Science Foundation continues the Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship (IGERT) program into its sixth annual competition. The IGERT program has been developed to meet the challenges of educating U.S. Ph.D. scientists, engineers, and educators with the interdisciplinary backgrounds, deep knowledge in chosen disciplines, and technical, professional, and personal skills to become in their own careers the leaders and creative agents for change. The program is intended to catalyze a cultural change in graduate education, for students, faculty, and institutions, by establishing innovative new models for graduate education and training in a fertile environment for collaborative research that transcends traditional disciplinary boundaries. It is also intended to facilitate greater diversity in student participation and preparation, and to contribute to the development of a diverse, globally-engaged science and engineering workforce.

IGERT is an NSF-wide endeavor involving the Directorates for Biological Sciences (BIO), Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE), Education and Human Resources (EHR), Engineering (ENG), Geosciences (GEO), Mathematical and Physical Sciences (MPS), Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences (SBE), the Office of Polar Programs (OPP), and the Office of International Science and Engineering (INT).


Proposals submitted to the IGERT program must be innovative research-based graduate education and training activities in emerging areas of science and engineering. They must be organized around an interdisciplinary research theme and involve a diverse group of faculty members and other investigators with appropriate expertise in research and teaching. The interdisciplinary theme provides a framework for integrating research and education and for promoting collaborative efforts within and across departments and institutions. Students should gain the breadth of skills, strengths, and understanding to work in an interdisciplinary environment while being well grounded with depth of knowledge in major fields. The IGERT project should provide students experience relevant to both academic and nonacademic careers by linking graduate research and education through such activities as internships and mentoring in industrial, national laboratory, academic, or other settings. Globalization of research and career opportunities places importance on providing students an international perspective, such as through internships, fieldwork, or other experiences abroad appropriate to the research area. The graduate experience should contribute to the professional and personal development of the students and equip them to understand and integrate scientific, technical, business, social, and ethical issues to confront the challenging problems of the future.

The interdisciplinary research theme may draw upon investigators from one or more academic departments within a single institution or from more than one institution. The primary emphasis of the IGERT program is on innovative approaches to education and training of doctoral students. Participation of individuals at the undergraduate, masters and postdoctoral levels may be included if such participation clearly strengthens the doctoral program. All stipend recipients supported by IGERT funds must be citizens or permanent residents of the U.S. or its possessions. However, participation by individuals who are supported with other funds is encouraged. In contributing to a diverse science and engineering workforce for the future, the IGERT project should include strategies for recruitment, mentoring, and retention aimed at members of groups underrepresented in science and engineering, i.e., women, racial and ethnic minorities, and persons with disabilities.

Features of IGERT Projects

IGERT projects are expected to incorporate the following features:

Principal Investigator

The Principal Investigator (PI) shall be the director of the IGERT project, and is expected to be an essential participant in its educational and research activities. The PI will have overall responsibility for administration of the award, management of the project, and interactions with the NSF.


Academic institutions in the United States and its territories that grant the Ph.D. degree in the sciences and engineering are invited to apply. Projects may involve more than one institution, but a single institution must accept overall management responsibility. Non-Ph.D. granting, nonacademic, and non-U.S. institutions may serve as collaborating institutions.

Proposals for new IGERT projects as well as proposals based on existing IGERT projects may be submitted. Projects involving research in any of the areas appropriate for funding by NSF are eligible.


Awards for IGERT projects will be made in amounts up to $550,000 per year for a duration of five years. Projects requiring substantially lower levels of funding may also be proposed. Additional funds of up to $200,000 may be provided in the first year for purposes appropriate to the IGERT project, including shared research equipment, special-purpose research materials, software, and databases, and faculty release time for development of new curricula. Additional funds of up to $100,000 per year for five years may be provided for some awards to support international activities that will significantly enhance the research, education, and training experiences of the IGERT graduate students. NSF plans to make approximately 20 awards from this competition, depending on the quality of the proposals and the availability of funds.


A. Proposal Preparation Instructions

Proposals should be prepared in accordance with the general guidelines contained in the NSF Grant Proposal Guide (GPG), with exception of deviations given in the specific IGERT instructions below. The complete text of the GPG is available electronically on the NSF Web Site at: Paper copies of the GPG may be obtained from the NSF Publications Clearinghouse, telephone (301) 947-2722 or by e-mail from


Preproposals must contain the items listed below and adhere to the specified page limitations. No additional information may be provided by links to web pages, and font size must be at least 10 point. At the preproposal stage, no letters of commitment or endorsement from the submitting institution or other organizations may be submitted.

Cover Sheet: Select the program solicitation number, NSF 02-145, from the pull down list, and then select IGERT Preproposal for the program unit from the ensuing screen. An informative title for the proposed IGERT project, that begins with “IGERT: ”, must be provided. The principal investigator and at most four co-principal investigators can be designated. Additional lead personnel should be included in the List of Participants, Section (C) a, below.

(A) Project Summary (1-page limit): Provide a summary description of the IGERT project, including its research theme and key education and training features, in a manner that will be informative to a general technical audience. The project summary must explicitly address the intellectual merit and broader impacts of the proposed activity. At the top of this page include the title of the IGERT project, the name of the principal investigator, and the lead institution. Also list any other participating institutions.

(B) Table of Contents: The Table of Contents is generated by FastLane and cannot be edited.

(C) Project Description: The project description contains the following items a through g, which are limited to a combined total length of 7 pages, inclusive of tables, figures, or other graphical data.

  1. List of Participants (1-page limit): Include departmental and institutional affiliation of all faculty members and other senior level personnel expected to have an important role in the project.
  2. Vision, Goals, and Thematic Basis: Describe the vision, goals, and anticipated impact of the proposed IGERT project. Describe the thematic basis and unifying aspects of the interdisciplinary research and educational activities to be offered. Include a discussion of what is currently missing from graduate education and training or what could be done more effectively, and how the proposed project will address these issues. Summarize the value-added aspects of the proposed project, and be specific about what is new and innovative.
  3. Major Research Efforts: Describe the major research efforts that are intended to serve as the foundation of the IGERT project. Emphasize their cutting-edge aspects and how they are interwoven and integrated to form the thematic basis for the interdisciplinary project. They should be described in sufficient detail for reviewers to assess their scientific merit and relevance to the project theme. If an international component is included, describe how it is to be grounded in the core research, education, and training activities of the IGERT project.
  4. Education and Training: Describe the graduate education and training mechanisms that are central to the IGERT project, and how they are to be integrated with the research. Novel aspects should be emphasized to enable assessment of their innovation and potential impact. Discuss career development opportunities and provision for developing professional and personal skills, an international perspective, and integrated instruction in ethics and the responsible conduct of research.
  5. Management, Assessment, and Institutional Commitment: Describe the strategies for management of the IGERT project, for formative and summative assessment of the project’s effectiveness in its impact on students and faculty, and the commitment that the institution will make to furthering project plans and goals and to creating a supportive environment for interdisciplinary research and education. Indicate how diversity will be promoted as an integral part of the project.
  6. Expected Resource Commitments: Describe anticipated resource commitments to the IGERT project by other organizations expected to participate, such as industry, government, non-U.S. institutions, and private foundations. Applicants proposing international activities may wish to consult the INT member of the IGERT Coordinating Committee, listed in Section VIII, Contacts.
  7. Recent Traineeship Experience and Results from Prior NSF Support (if applicable): Describe your experience with and outcomes of any related graduate traineeship project during the past five years. In this description, address not only the outcomes of the prior project, but also, in a comparative manner, describe the value-added aspects of the proposed IGERT project.

(D) References Cited (1-page limit)

(E) Biographical Sketches and Current Research Support (1-page limit per participant; a maximum of 20 biographical sketches may be included): For participants listed in Section (C) a, above, provide a biographical sketch that also includes a brief description of current research support. The sketch should include the individual’s academic and professional history, and may include a list of the five most significant publications. Other activities or accomplishments may be listed. In choosing what to include, emphasize information that will be helpful in understanding the strengths, qualifications, and specific impact the individual brings to the IGERT project.

(F) Estimated Five-Year Budget Summary (NSF Form 1030): Prepare a one page, five-year summary of total estimated expenses. Budgets should emphasize graduate student support. Within FastLane, enter your five-year summary budget as Year 1, and FastLane will create the cumulative budget automatically.

Budget Justification (1-page limit): Provide a discussion of the proposed allocation of funds in the major budget categories of Section (F), above, with sufficient clarity to show how resources will be utilized in carrying out the planned IGERT project activities.

B. Cost Sharing Requirements

Cost Sharing: Cost sharing is not required by the IGERT program.

Indirect Cost (F&A) Limitations: Awards will carry an 8% allowance for indirect costs based on the total direct cost, excluding equipment and cost-of-education allowances.

Other Budgetary Limitations: The graduate student stipend allowance is currently $21,500 per year per student. NSF is seeking to raise graduate stipends to $25,000, in which case additional project funding will be provided. All graduate and other stipend recipients must be citizens or permanent residents of the U.S. or its possessions.

C. Deadline Dates

All proposals must be submitted via FastLane by 5:00 PM local time on the deadline dates listed at the beginning of this solicitation. Applicants are urged to submit well in advance of the stated deadlines to avoid any possible delays in use of the FastLane system.

D. FastLane Requirements

Submission of Electronically Signed Cover Sheets. Only full proposals require submission of the electronically signed cover sheet. The Authorized Organizational Representative (AOR) must electronically sign the proposal Cover Sheet to submit the required proposal certifications (see Chapter II, Section C of the Grant Proposal Guide for a listing of the certifications). The AOR must provide the required certifications within five working days following the electronic submission of the proposal. Further instructions regarding this process are available on the FastLane website at:


A. Proposal Review Process

All proposals submitted in response to this solicitation will be evaluated by interdisciplinary panels of experts. Panel reviewers will be selected for their relevant expertise in substantive areas of the proposed research and education projects by Program Officers on the IGERT Coordinating Committee charged with oversight of the review process. NSF invites proposers to suggest at the time of submission the names of appropriate or inappropriate reviewers. Care is taken to ensure that reviewers have no conflicts of interest with the proposer. Efforts are made to secure diversity among reviewers and to recruit reviewers from nonacademic organizations and minority-serving institutions.

Proposals will be reviewed using the following two merit review criteria established by the National Science Board. The criteria include considerations that help define them. These considerations are suggestions and not all will apply to any given proposal. Reviewers will be asked to address only those considerations that are relevant to the proposal and for which they are qualified to make judgements.

How important is the proposed activity to advancing knowledge and understanding within its own field or across different fields? How well qualified is the proposer (individual or team) to conduct the project? (If appropriate, the reviewer will comment on the quality of the prior work.) To what extent does the proposed activity suggest and explore creative and original concepts? How well conceived and organized is the proposed activity? Is there sufficient access to resources?

How well does the activity advance discovery and understanding while promoting teaching, training, and learning? How well does the proposed activity broaden the participation of underrepresented groups (e.g., gender, ethnicity, disability, geographic, etc.)? To what extent will it enhance the infrastructure for research and education, such as facilities, instrumentation, networks, and partnerships? Will the results be disseminated broadly to enhance scientific and technological understanding? What may be the benefits of the proposed activity to society?

NSF staff will give careful consideration to the following in making funding decisions:

Integration of Research and Education

One of the principal strategies in support of NSF's goals is to foster integration of research and education through the programs, projects, and activities it supports at academic and research institutions. These institutions provide abundant opportunities where individuals may concurrently assume responsibilities as researchers, educators, and students and where all can engage in joint efforts that infuse education with the excitement of discovery and enrich research through the diversity of learning perspectives.

Integrating Diversity into NSF Programs, Projects, and Activities

Broadening opportunities and enabling the participation of all citizens – women and men, underrepresented minorities, and persons with disabilities – is essential to the health and vitality of science and engineering. NSF is committed to this principle of diversity and deems it central to the programs, projects, and activities it considers and supports.

Additional IGERT Review Criteria

In responding to the standard NSF review criteria, reviewers will be asked to place emphasis on the following considerations in furthering IGERT program objectives:

B. Review Protocol and Associated Customer Service Standard

Review panels will be asked to formulate a recommendation to either support or decline each proposal. The Program Officers on the IGERT Coordinating Committee assigned to manage the review process will consider the advice of the review panels in making their recommendations. The Coordinating Committee will also consider, if applicable, results from prior support, including information derived from on-site evaluation.

For each proposal, a summary rating and accompanying narrative of the panel deliberations (panel summary) will be completed and signed by the panel. An individual rating and accompanying narrative will also be completed and signed by at least three reviewers on the panel assigned to provide a written review of the proposal. In all cases, reviews are treated as confidential documents. Verbatim copies of the individual reviews and panel summary, excluding the names of the reviewers, are provided to the applicant. In addition, the applicant will receive an explanation of the decision to award or decline funding.

NSF will inform preproposal applicants within four months after the submission deadline whether they are being invited to submit to the full proposal competition. This notification will allow invited applicants at least three months time to prepare full proposals. Applicants submitting full proposals will receive notice of the outcome of the competition within six months following the full proposal submission deadline.

After programmatic approval has been obtained, the proposals recommended for funding will be forwarded to the Division of Grants and Agreements for review of business, financial, and policy implications and the processing and issuance of a grant or other agreement. Applicants are cautioned that only a Grants and Agreements Officer may make commitments, obligations or awards on behalf of NSF or authorize the expenditure of funds. No commitment on the part of NSF should be inferred from technical or budgetary discussions with a NSF Program Officer. Principal Investigators or organizations that make financial or personnel commitments in the absence of a grant or cooperative agreement signed by the NSF Grants and Agreements Officer do so at their own risk.


General information regarding the IGERT program can be obtained from the NSF Web site at Specific inquiries should be directed to one of the following members of the IGERT Coordinating Committee:

Lawrence Goldberg (Chair), ECS/ENG, (703) 292-8339,

Wyn Jennings (Co-Chair), DGE/EHR, (703) 292-5307,

Gerry Berkowitz, MCB/BIO,

Judith Skog, DBI/BIO,

Rita Rodriguez, EIA/CISE,

Emir Macari, HRD/EHR,

Kenneth Whang, REC/EHR,

Geoffrey Prentice, CTS/ENG,

Bruce Hamilton, BES/ENG,

Roddy Rogers, ATM/GEO,

K. L. Murty, DMR/MPS,

Roger Lewis, DMS/MPS,

Laura Razzolini, SES/SBE,

Mark Weiss, BCS/SBE,

Jane Dionne, OPP,

Cassandra Dudka, INT,

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